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Dick Clark’s Greatest Hits You Didn’t Know

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Dick Clark’s passing this week sent many of us looking back at his lengthy and varied resume. It’s quite amazing, and a real testament to his willingness to try anything at least once. Here are some of Mr. Clark’s past projects that you may have forgotten.

“DICK CLARK’S EASYGOING GUIDE TO GOOD GROOMING”

This 1986 book (the cover photo is posted above) is a mellow throwback to the grooming guides from earlier eras. Clark offers tips on everything from buying hair shampoo to tying a necktie. Let’s see Ryan Seacrest try that!

“KILLERS THREE”

Hard to imagine now, but back in 1968, Clark co-starred in a movie as a murderous thief. It was called “Killers Three,” and it also starred Robert Walker Jr. and Diane Varsi. The plot involved moonshine, blasting a safe and running from the law. Clark also was involved in the script and helped produce the film, which later was re-released on a double-bill with “Boxcar Bertha.”

FINAL EPISODE OF “PERRY MASON”

Yes, America’s Oldest Teenager got grilled on the witness stand in the very last episode of TV’s “Perry Mason” in 1966. “The Case of the Final Fade-Out” also featured appearances by members of the “Perry Mason” crew and the series’ creator, Erle Stanley Gardner. As for Clark, he played a TV writer named “Leif Early.”

GROOVY GUEST SPOT ON “BATMAN”

That same year, 1966, Clark scored some major pop culture points by popping up in TV’s “Batman.” Very nice. Very “Mad Men.”

“CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND”

Clark played himself in George Clooney’s directing debut, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” in 2002. This was a wild story about real-life TV host Chuck Barris, who later claimed that he was a CIA assassin. Barris had worked for Clark in the 1960s on “American Bandstand,” and Clooney films Clark in mock documentary style, talking about Barris.

Those are just some of the highlights. Clark also appeared on “The X-Files,” on “Friends,” as a ringmaster on “Circus of the Stars,” and he executive produced “Celebrity Boxing 2,” in which William “The Refrigerator” Perry stepped into the ring against Manute Bol. It’s safe to say there will never be another entertainment personality like Dick Clark.

What are your favorite Dick Clark appearances? Add to The List!

Jimbo’s Film Faves of 2011

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The Jimbo List would never presume to pick the best films of the year. That’s a job for a film critic. Instead, here are 10 movies from 2011 I personally loved. Maybe you liked them, too.

MONEYBALL

I know people are more likely to talk about Brad Pitt’s work in “Tree of Life,” but I thought this one was better. He made audiences care about a baseball executive trying to rethink everything about his sport. It’s both a story about the way metrics are reshaping our society and a story about the personal calculations we all make in our lives.

WIN WIN

Paul Giamatti continues to astound me. Here he modulates his intensity to play a good, decent family man struggling with the boatload of crap we all face. Sometimes he gets it right and sometimes he doesn’t. The wonderful Amy Ryan is here, as well.

BRIDESMAIDS

Much like Tina Fey, Kristen Wiig slips into this zone where she can be outrageous while also being low key in the same performance. Quite remarkable. Add in a powerhouse comedy performance by Melissa McCarthy and you’ve struck gold, Jerry, gold!

THE DESCENDANTS

This movie about a distant dad dealing with a family crisis is far from perfect. Yet it has so much interesting stuff to say, and so many worthwhile moments, that it stayed with me. Director Alexander Payne’s movies always have a way of making life seem like a ride in a fast-moving vehicle over which you have only partial control.

THE LINCOLN LAWYER

Speaking of fast moving vehicles, here was a perfect role for Matthew McConaughey. He’s an ultra slick defense attorney who deals with clients ranging from biker gangs to wealthy children of privilege. The film is slick, too, but in a good way. Plenty of twists, turns, thrills and even charm.

OUR IDIOT BROTHER

I’m a big Paul Rudd fan, but I’ve been disappointed sometimes when he plays the lead role in a film. He’s best when he has an odd edge to his characters. In “Our Idiot Brother” he gets to do both. Although it’s highly contrived, the film is hilariously on point in its relationships between siblings and other family members. And it offers Rudd a great, cathartic scene toward the end.

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

This romantic comedy is not of my generation, but it has something timeless: witty banter. Not only that, there’s actual chemistry between Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake. I wouldn’t be surprised if this developed a larger following later on, the way “When Harry Met Sally” did after its first release.

MARGIN CALL

For my money, “Margin Call” had the best ensemble cast of the year: Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Demi Moore, Simon Baker, Zachary Quinto. The movie is riveting, set at a Wall Street brokerage house just before the 2008 economic collapse. Fair warning, though – it will make you angry all over again.

50/50

The title refers not only to the main character’s chances of surviving cancer, but also, I’d say, to the excellent balance between tragedy and comedy. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen are top notch here. With tons of humor, they show how personal ordeals may be solitary journeys, but they’re a hell of a lot easier with loving friends and family sharing parts of the trip.

BEGINNERS

Just terrific in so many ways. The performances by Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent are winning; the talking pooch is inspired. And beyond the central plot of a guy whose elderly father comes out of the closet, there’s a visual sensibility to this movie that is inventive and fresh. When McGregor’s sad character goes to a party and meets an intriguing woman, it feels both clever and real. Great stuff.

So what are the movies that moved YOU this year?

5 Film Turkeys I’m Thankful For

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This being Thanksgiving weekend and all, I’m devoting today’s List to some film turkeys I actually like. Some were critical flops, some were financial flops, some were both – but all of them were worth the price of admission to me.

1941 (1979)

Here’s the plot: Pearl Harbor has been attacked, and folks in California are convinced that an invasion is imminent. Naturally, comedic mayhem ensues. For my friends and I, this was an all-star cast to die for. You had the great John Belushi, and Dan Aykroyd, and John Candy, and Joe Flaherty, and Tim Matheson, and about a hundred others. It made no sense, of course. It was just good, boisterous fun.

SOLARIS (2002)

This George Clooney sci-fi flick absolutely bored the hell out of many viewers. For long stretches, it was as cold and meditative as watching a snowstorm from a a drafty window. But I found it engrossing. And the space setting, to me, was a perfect choice for a drama about grief, memory, delusion and perception.

STARDUST (2007)

Even after seeing the movie poster, you may not believe this film was actually made. It is – hang tight, now – a cute love story involving the winsome Claire Danes; it features Michelle Pfeiffer as a sexy, sarcastic witch; Robert DeNiro plays a gay pirate captain whose ship floats in the air; and it has a unicorn. Holy cinematic train wreck! Yet … silly as it is, its sheer energy and audacity won me over. Go figure.

GET CARTER (2000)

I don’t care what anyone says. I think the late-period Stallone has an aura of weariness and regret that seeps nicely into his work. In this case, a violent remake of a Michael Caine revenge flick, Stallone gives and gets quite a beating. The cast, meanwhile, is excellent, including Mickey Rourke, John C. McGinley, Alan Cumming and Caine himself.

WATERWORLD (1995)

Of COURSE it’s ridiculous. It’s FAMOUSLY ridiculous. But so what? Crazy mermaid-guy Kevin Costner tools around his waterlogged world in the coolest piece of transportation outside of the Batmobile. There’s one scene in particular where he catapults himself out of danger, slides down the length of his boat’s mainsail and makes a getaway. Come on, that’s just awesome. Plus, Dennis Hopper’s psycho villain makes me laugh.

Another thing I’m thankful for? Anyone who takes the time to read these little Lists. Happy Thanksgiving weekend to one and all!